When the Cowboys shocked the world by taking linebacker Jaylon Smith early in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, much of the fan base had already made up their mind on the pick.
“He’ll never be the same player.”
“It’s a good story, but a wasted pick.”
These were the popular opinions among not only Cowboys Nation, but around the entire league as well. No one could imagine Jaylon Smith recovering from his severe knee injury to the point he would even play again, let alone play at the level he had prior to sustaining the injury.
But, here we sit, two years later ready to see what Jaylon Smith can do with a healthy offseason of preparation. And according to Jaylon Smith, he’s starting to feel like himself again.
Jaylon Smith says his 20-yard shuttle time is now 3.98 seconds without the brace. Was 4.03 with it. #Cowboys
Jaylon Smith told the media on Wednesday that his 20-yard shuttle time is down to 3.98 seconds without the brace (which he famously ditched this year) from 4.03 seconds with it. That time of 3.98 seconds would put him in the 99th percentile of linebackers according to MockDraftable.
It’s not only his 20-yard shuttle time which has reportedly improved, however.
Jaylon Smith says he’s added 8 pounds of muscle, and is down to 3.5% body fat. 3.5 percent. “Good genes,” he said with a smile. The man is built like a damn statue. #Cowboys
Jaylon Smith also stated yesterday that he’s added 8 pounds of muscle and is down to 3.5% body fat. If all of this is true, Smith could be in store for a hell of a season.
Arguably Smith’s best quality coming out of Notre Dame was his overall athleticism. Smith was incredibly rangy, with the ability to fly from sideline to sideline and make plays. He was just as fluid and comfortable rushing the passer as he was dropping into coverage.
Since the knee injury, Jaylon Smith hasn’t consistently looked the same. By the end of last season (effectively his rookie year), Smith started to look better week in and week out. Much of this could be attributed to the fact he was able to play less snaps with Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens finally both being healthy, however.
But, still, Jaylon Smith impressed in his limited role. Now alongside Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch, Smith has the chance to complete one of the more athletic linebacker corps in the league. If he can really return to form, this Cowboys defense can begin to look scary to opposing offenses.